CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia consumers looking to sue for misrepresentation under the state's Consumer Credit and Protection Act now must show proof of reliance, according to an opinion released Friday by the state Supreme Court.

Previously, state consumers only had to prove misrepresentation to seek damages.

Following the Court's ruling in White vs. Wyeth, plaintiffs now must show a causal connection between their individual claims of injury and any alleged unfair or deceptive conduct.

The ruling potentially has tremendous implications for consumers, especially those filing lawsuits involving prescription medications. But it also could affect the state Attorney General's office and the number of opportunities for lawsuits it files on behalf of the state.

The suit at issue, filed in April 2004 by a group of private citizens who purchased prescription hormone replacement therapy drugs, alleges that pharmaceutical company Wyeth used "unfair" and "deceptive" practices in promoting such prescription drug products to doctors and patients for treatment of menopausal disorders by using "misleading" statements in advertising, marketing and labeling of the products.

In October 2008, Wyeth filed alternative motions for dismissal or summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs could not establish that they had standing to sue because they failed to meet their burden of showing a causal connection between the claims of injury and any alleged unfair or deceptive conduct attributed to the company.

To read the rest of the article, visit the West Virginia Record.

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